This site is intended for health professionals only

#GPnews: Warnings as 17 Welsh GP practices hand back contracts

14:40 Research published in the Lancet has found that childhood chest infections requiring hospital care could have dropped as much as 20% as a result of smoking bans.

UK and Dutch researchers said this added to previous evidence that tobacco control policies are associated with hospital admission reductions for ashtma attacks, as well as cutting rates of premature births.

Dr Erika Kennington, head of research at Asthma UK, welcomed the study, adding: ‘Smoking, or being around other people smoking, makes asthma worse by causing permanent damage to the lungs. In the short term, it can also lead to asthma symptoms and even a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

‘Children with asthma who have parents, or other family members who smoke, are at much greater risk of wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks.

‘Giving up smoking is a vital step in not only managing your own asthma, but making sure your child with asthma stays safe and well.’

13:55 Over one in four eligible women in Scotland did not attend their cervical screening last year.

The 73.4% uptake figure was released as cervical cancer deaths have risen by 32% (116  in 2015, up from 88 in 2014).

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust chief executive Robert Music commented: ‘When it comes to cervical screening and improving attendance, one size really does not fit all and we must prioritise understanding and tackling the barriers faced by different groups of women.

‘We must ensure the system is accessible, customer focused and adopts to the modern world and changing behaviours, and increase accessibility to the programme though initiatives such as self-sampling and women being able to attend screening at surgeries other than the one they are registered with.

‘If we do not start to immediately reverse declining coverage then tragically we are going to see more deaths that could have been prevented.’

10:45 GP Survival has called on Welsh GPs to do more to explain staffing shortages to patients, after 17 practices were forced to hand back their contract to their health board over the past 12 months.

The campaign group warned that more practices will close and low-cost staff will replace doctors, reports Wales Online.

GP Survival’s Dr Sophie Quinney said that over 60 contracts have been handed back to health boards since 2010, with half of them shutting down for good.

09:35 A new study has concluded that PSA-based testing for prostate cancer is, after all, effective in reducing deaths from the disease.

However, despite the findings GPs in the UK remain unconvinced of the benefits of rolling out screening more widely.